Bishop Miege will get the chance to show Kansas it’s worthy of a second straight Class 4A Division I title next week in Salina.
The Stags beat Eudora 49-40 Saturday night in their Bonner Springs substate final, securing a third straight appearance in the state boys’ basketball tournament.
And they did it without their high-octane style of play, which Eudora effectively erased with its tendency to keep the ball for a minute or more at a time.
But the Stags didn’t need their fast-break offense. They were able to capitalize on the Cardinals’ inability to convert long possessions. And when the Stags inevitably got the ball back, they turned the Cardinals’ trademark game against them.
With the Cardinals crowding the lane, the Stags had to make do with shooting from the perimeter. In the process, they ran down the clock with 4:35 to go. Ezekiel Lopes capped the play with a three-point shot more than two minutes later.
And that final shot was enough to increase Miege’s lead over Eudora to 42-35. Although the Cardinals got help on a William Verbanic three-point play and a lay-up from Hayden Brown, the Stags controlled the remainder of the game and added seven points on fouls, all drawn in Eudora territory, for the victory.
The last time Miege saw Eudora was in the 2016 state quarterfinals. The Cardinals had led by five early in the second half, but they couldn’t keep their lead when then-sophomore Bol Bol took off for the Stags.
Saturday night in Bonner Springs, the Stags didn’t need Bol either. They got help from sophomore Jeremiah Robinson, who used his 6-foot-8 frame to keep senior and 6-foot-5 Creighton signee Mitchell Ballock off balance long enough to deny him easy baskets. Ballock ended his high school career with 17 points.
They got a powerful display from guys like Lopes and Semaj Ray and fellow starter Landry Weber.
Despite being off their game —the Stags entered substate averaging about 66 points per contest — Bishop Miege will return to the Bicentennial Center to defend its crown.
Bishop Miege 59, Baldwin 42: The Bishop Miege girls’ road to a fourth straight Class 4A-I state title will continue after the Stags beat Baldwin 59-42 in Bonner Springs earlier Saturday evening.
The Stags were led by senior Hunter Bentley’s 20 points and junior Courtney Harms’ 12 points, all of which came on three-point shots.
The Bulldogs mounted a ferocious second-quarter comeback to get within four points of a tie with the Stags.
But Miege, frustrated by the 13-3 run the Bulldogs closed the half on, came out of the locker rooms ready to put some distance between them and Baldwin. The Stags scored 26 points and only allowed 13 in the second half.
Both Bishop Miege teams will play in Salina next week.